thermal sensor

paddleDecember 26, 2009

Our 96 Express van would not turn over this morning. It was cold and raining. The CAA guy was able to start it by just touching the gas pedal. He suspects that the thermal sensor in the thermostatic air cleaner is not functioning properly thus not allowing air, "the little door" won't open. He said it may have been just a fluke(this was the first time this happened)If it happens again, take it in to the shop.

Is this an expensive part? Is it a big job? Will plugging my van in at night help avoid this? Any comments would be appreciated.

thanx and Happy New Year!!!

jim in toronto

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What you have here is not enough accurate information to make any kind of a decision about what caused your no-start this morning.

When we talk about an engine "turning over", we are referring to the starters ability to crank the engine. It appears the event was a "Cranks but would not start / hard to start" The period of time between your attempting to start the engine and the CCA guy attempting could have allowed for any number of random intermittent issues to self correct, which would at that point make any attempt at guessing what actually caused the no-start a very bad practice. As far as a thermal sensor, you are probably referring to the Coolant Temperature Sensor (CTS), as opposed to the Intake Air Temperature Sensor (IAT), of which your car uses both, as well as a Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF). I won't say that there could never be a problem with the CTS on your car, but it would be a very rare occurrence. A qualified technician getting to test your car during the no-start event would be checking the IAT temperature signal against the CTS, as well as confirming both of them with the ambient temperature. That way it would be proven if there was an issue with them or not. The CCA guy by touching the gas pedal, if he pushed it far enough would have caused the computer (PCM) to disable the injector pulse and that would allow a flooded engine to clear and start. Are you suggesting that your engine was in fact flooded and that caused the no-start? If so, yes an open CTS circuit could be the cause, as well as a leaking fuel pressure regulator, bad Idle Air Control Motor, (IAC), or even an ignition system fault.

Your van (1996) does not have a thermostatic air cleaner, so there is no little door to stick. Even if it did, when an engine is cold that door if it was stuck in the closed position would not cause a cold start issue.

So, all of this means its way to early to try and guess a price, and to try and guess how much time would be required. You need much more accurate information and the only thing the CCA guy told you that I agree with is that a shop and real technician needs to experience this problem and diagnose it for you.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 5:33PM
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thankyou John for the great information!!! I guess I will wait and see when this occurs again and take it in to my mechanic

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 8:50PM
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Just one other thought. You live in Toronto and i live in wpg. I know what the temps are for both areas. You didn't
plug your van in ? That kind of says it all. You flooded it. Try plugging it in next time.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 4:13PM
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Okay, it happened again this morning. The temps are just above freezing, a little damp and the van would not start. We did not flood it , and it would not start. Plugged in the block heater for an hour and it fired up no problem. Thus the heat from the block heater is doing something, back to the sensor thing, any thoughts before I take it in?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:44PM
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    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 5:00PM
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It just isn't enough information to say what is wrong. What you have given me is enough to start proper testing. Even so, I would need to see it during the no-start symptom to accurately diagnose the problem.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 5:36PM
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Well, a little more information: The van usually has to sit for 24 hours for this to occur. The last tune up (spark plugs, wires, rotor and cap) were done in 2005 ( about 40,000 km's ago)
Do you think they should be changed ? or get the engine scanned first?


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 6:18PM
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It needs to be diagnosed, which would require.

Sitting at the shop over the 24 hour period that it appears to take to create the symptom. The tech needs to attach certain diagnostic equipment in advance so that he/she can perform as much testing as they can in as short of time as possible. The testing must be completed before the vehicle starts, otherwise all they will get to do is narrow down the possibilities, such as isolate the problem to fuel, or ignition, or basic inputs or commands from the PCM. (Fuel injection computer)

If the vehicle starts right up, then the problem wasn't present and they will have to allow for another extended sitting time to again try and experience the reported issue. If the vehicle starts during testing, quite often even though some systems were eliminated as causes, testing will need to be continued from that point during the next failure event.

One guarantee, the most expensive way to try and fix this is by throwing parts at it now. Could it be ignition related? Sure, but it does not have to be. You could inadvertently add a problem to the vehicle by throwing parts at it right now with out testing. If you test correctly first and then a repair quality issue would occur, then you would be able to effectively deal with that too.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:57AM
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Hello Dears :
I have problem in my camary 2008 , it's lag in starting . i changed the fuel pump,spark plugs , fuel filter and checked the nozzels but stay lag in the starting . what is the problem please? thanks for your help

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 2:17AM
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